Background Briefing: August 17, 2020


Trump’s Three-Pronged Attack on the Election

We begin with pushback against the deliberate destruction of the Post Office by Trump and his campaign donor with demonstrators showing up at Post Master General DeJoy’s mansion in North Carolina and his apartment in Washington D.C. We speak with Joshua Geltzer, the founding Executive Director of the Institute for Constitutional Advocacy and Protection who served as Senior Director for Counterterrorism at the National Security Council and as counsel to the Assistant Attorney General for National Security at the U.S. Department of Justice. He joins us to discuss his article with Jennifer Taub and Lawrence Tribe at The Atlantic “Trump Has Launched a Three-Pronged Attack on the Election and It Starts With Undermining the U.S. Postal Service.”  We also examine whether Trump’s suggestion he might pardon Edward Snowden means he is setting the stage for Putin to help reelect him by discrediting the U.S. Intelligence Community so that the evidence of Russia’s 2020 meddling will not be believed by his base on the Right and Snowden’s supporters on the Left.


What is Behind Trump’s Suggested Pardoning of Edward Snowden

Then we examine further the possibility of a presidential pardon of Edward Snowden and speak with Barton Gellman, someone who knows him well and is actually in possession of all of the secrets Snowden stole from the NSA. A Pulitzer Prize-winning author and journalist who was a long-time writer for The Washington Post whose latest book is Dark Mirror: Edward Snowden and the Surveillance Statehe joins us to discuss whether pardoning Snowden will revive attention to the continuing power of America’s surveillance state.


Putin is Unlikely to Invade Belarus to Rescue a Dictator he Despises

Then finally we speak with a native of Belarus Natalie Manaeva Rice, Research Associate at the Center for Information and Communication Studies at the University of Tennessee who also studies Russian foreign policy, its influence campaigns and the resulting impact on global security. She joins us to discuss how Putin is unlikely to invade Belarus to rescue Lukashenko who he detests, because this is not another “color revolution” but rather a turning point in Belarus where the people want their dictator gone.